New tools!

Over the past several months I have acquired all sorts of new toys for my workshop, and I have been meaning to make a post about them for a while, so here it is. Some of this follows up from my new years post when I made a list of planned tool purchases/projects and shop upgrades.


I have wanted more Cam Clamps for quite a while, but they are not cheap, so I decided to try making a few myself. I used the two that I had bought from Luthier’s Mercantile as models and came up with 3 more clamps made out of scrap wood that I had lying around. I am planning to make more now that I have ironed out some of the design kinks (see the extra brass pins in the bottom right corner…), so when I do, I will write a post with plans for these.

I also bought another mixed bag of plastic spring clamps from Home Depot that have come in handy for all sorts of little things. I don’t think one can ever have too many clamps!

Small Saws

I replaced the blade to my Japanese dozuki saw about a year ago and have held onto the old blade since then. It wasn’t really of much use – several of the teeth were broken off or worn away – this blade was probably about as old as I am! I have a hard time throwing things away – my dad instilled in me a strong belief that things might come in handy someday, and I finally came up with an idea for this old blade, so I guess he is right! I decided to cut the blade into a smaller saw, using the back part of the blade that was still sharp and securing it between two pieces of scrap maple with brass pins.

This little saw has a blade that is about 4 1/2 inches long and it is really handy to cut small bits and pieces like brace ends. Not long after I had made my little saw, I was in Lee Valley and saw a little razor saw, and decided that I would add that to my collection. As decent as my homemade one is, the kerf of the blade is still as thick as a Japanese dozuki, and sometimes I need something that is a bit more fine, so I thought that this would do the trick.

I didn’t notice until I had brought the little saw home that it is somehow a cancer risk… If anyone can tell me why, I am incredibly curious!

Fret Hammer

One of the other things that I had listed in my new year’s wish list was a new fretting hammer, and I have purchased that. I bought a little 8oz brass hammer from Lee Valley for fretting, and having used it a few times now can attest that it does indeed work and is definitely an improvement over my small claw hammer.

Router Plane

I also purchased a small router plane as I had planned in that aforementioned post and it is fantastic. It is great at cleaning up areas before inlaying – for instance, the tail joint and the rosette.

Bigger Tools

I came into quite a bit of good fortune earlier this year: someone here in Ottawa was looking for a new home for a few tools, and I raised my hand at the right moment, and am now the proud owner of a couple of sanding/sharpening tools, a router (and accompanying table), and a lathe (plus chisels etc)! I have yet to use the lathe – I’ll have to find a good chunk of time to sit down with some proper instructions and perhaps take a lesson or two with an experienced turner, but I have always wanted to turn things, and now I have the tools! I have used the router a couple of times, but still have lots to learn. The sanding/sharpening machines are fantastic – again, lots to learn there!

Metric Ruler

Finally, I bought myself a new ruler! Not a super fancy one, but something half decent, 36″ long, and with metric markings. Up until I bought this, the longest half-decent metric ruler that I had was 15 cm, so this was long overdue. I was converting all of my metric measurements to imperial, and nothing about that is ideal. One of these days I will treat myself to a Starett or something equally luxurious, but I think I might have to wait a year or so on that one!

I think that is all that is new in my shop at the moment. I have a few more things planned for the rest of the year, so I’ll have at least one or two more tool posts over the next several months. The next post will be a building update though – I have to introduce the next guitar build!

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I play guitar. I build guitars when I can. I enjoy all sorts of music, but Baroque, 'classical' guitar music of the 19th and 20th centuries, and jazz music hold special places in my heart. I am using this blog to document some of my adventures in guitar building, performing, and teaching, and hope to give my readers a bit of a look at the world inside a guitar.

4 thoughts on “New tools!”

  1. About the Ultra Thin Kerf Razor Saw and its P65 warning of cancer risk, I think wood dust is the “prime suspect”. As found from P65 web site when searching with “wood dust” keyword:

    “Why am I being warned about potential exposure to wood dust?
    – Wood dust is on the Proposition 65 list because it can cause cancer.
    – Exposure to wood dust in significant amounts on a recurring basis can cause cancers of the nose, throat and sinuses.”

    I am sure you’d wear proper protected gear when doing your work. I presume for products such as this Kerf saw being manufactured/sold in California, they are mandated to have this Warning label.

    1. As always, I’ve enjoyed your post.
      I’ve liked the Shinwa/Hosco Japanese metric rules I’ve purchased thru Amazon. They have 150mm,300mm, 600mm and 1m lengths, and they are engraved – they seem to be a good buy for the quality, but I haven’t had a chance to check them for consistency across multiple rules with an optical comparator or gauge blocks.
      Madinter sells these Hosco rules to luthiers in Spain. The one meter length is about $55 US. I think all of the ones I have from them are rigid rules but one of them might be flexible.
      I have an Starett 36” rule that is really nice but cost nearly $150 US, but does not have metric markings (I bought it for building steel string guitars). I originally had the idea that I would buy Starett for all the measuring tools but that became cost prohibitive for me. I also have a shorter flexible 450mm high accuracy/high precision rule that has both British and metric markings that I purchased from McMaster Carr, I think it was a good buy.

      1. Thank you Larry – I will take a look at those rulers. Yes, the Starett is very expensive – I think here in Canada the long rules are upwards of 325CAD :/

    2. Thanks David – that makes sense, I wasn’t thinking about the dust that the saw might produce (I was thinking it was some material in the actual saw!)

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